Thought I'd share a clamping solution I use for irregular shaped projects. I make about 25 flag cases a year for vets and clamping these three sided boxes was always a challenge. I tried the band clamps, adjustable corner clamps and clamps on clamps... but was never satisfied with the outcome because it was difficult to get uniform clamping pressure on the corners, especially the bottom 45 degree corners.
Attached are three photos that show the simple clamping jigs I made and how they attach to the case. Scrap 3/4" plywood with large dowels screwed into notches at each end of the plywood is all there is. A clamp positioned at the center secures the jig to each side of the case with subsequent clamps added at the corners. Keep the corner clamps snug to allow the corners to be adjusted for alignment then tighten to close any gaps. Hope this is useful for your flag case build or any other odd project that requires some creative clamping solution.
A couple notes on flag cases:
- Always seal the inside surfaces that come in contact with the flag so any resins in the wood or stain residue do not discolor the flag over time. I use spray polyuretyhane inside and out.
- Use UV glass to prevent fading of the flag, just be sure to have the UV coated side facing out otherwise it will do no good. I have a local picture frame shop cut the glass from a wood template I provide.
- I use three glazier points to hold the glass in place. Simple and quick to push into position with a putty knife. Once the flag is installed the glass is totally secure.
- I order engraved nameplates on-line. Inexpensive and adds a professional touch.
- If you know someone who has a family member's service flag sitting in a drawer or closet, offer to make them a case. Its a great way to honor their service.
The flag cases I make are free for the families of deceased veterans and first responders, I don't put any business info on them. I do sign and date the back of the case along with the type of wood and UV glass.
The decals are actually military medallions (coins) for the specific military branch the vet served under or police or fire emblem (see photo). I used to buy these from Northwest Territorial Mint but they are out of business; I'm hoping they start back up because they made some nice medallions. They are available on-line from many other sources and also Amazon, my current source. They usually cost between $6 - 9 depending on the supplier. I use a forester bit to create a recess then epoxy the medallion in place.
I order the engraved nameplates on-line from Rossi Engraving. Great price, lots of options as far as size, material, font... and easy to order. I used to have them made locally at a trophy shop but wasn't happy with the price or quality.
I agree, cutting those acute (22.5 degree) angles is a challenge. I've tried just about every option there is and the best method I now use is to stand them up on a tenoning jig and tilt the blade to 22.5 degrees (see photos). I place a piece of scrap wood between the metal jig and case so the blade will clear the metal jig. I also raise the case stock up off the saw table so it slides easy using a wooden shim, just be sure to do this when cutting all angles in the jig. I found this method described in Woodworkers Journal, August 2006 edition and have used it faithfully since. I've made over 140 cases using the tenoning jig and this is the best method I've found. It might be somewhere in YouTube land but I haven't looked. Making a fixed position (90 degree) tenoning jig is pretty straightforward if you don't have one or don't want to buy one.
Keep in mind, for the corners to mate up correctly it is critical that the length of the sides and the miter angles be spot on. To get there the stock must first be flat, straight and square to the ends.
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